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Old 07-26-22, 09:41 PM
A Roadie Forever
79pmooney's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 10,991

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

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My knees simply will not tolerate high Q-factors. (They consider over 145 big. And no, I don't ride bikes with bigger than 38c tires. I've known a long time that failure to listen to those knees will mean going 3rd party. And I like the ones I've got. Plus they are paid for.)

So I have been observing Q-factors and the related factors a long time. Those same knees like triple cranksets and the low gears. So I observe crank design and bottom brackets carefully. Now, I came up riding asymmetrical bottom brackets. Sugino, TA and the like. I've never noticed the asymmetry while riding. It wasn't until relatively recent years that I spent much time on Shimano cranksets with their "S" shaped cranks and symmetrical BBs. Knees started complaining! My most knee friendly bike became my fix gear with its complete lack of low gears.

So I started looking at cranks and found that Sugino, especially older Sugino, were much narrower. Also I could (yes, for a pretty price) get custom Phil Wood bottom brackets at any width and asymmetry I want. So now I ride mostly Sugino cranks with several Phil BBs that have the left crank very close the chainstay and the right inboard of the "perfect" chainline. I justify all of this under the $$s spent are probably considerably less than my out-of-pocket share of those 3rd party knees.

Good bike with triple: Q = 143
Good fix gear with velodrome standard drivetrain: 132
Peter Mooney set up fix gear with a triple crankset: 135
Winter/rain/;city Trek fix gear: 137
Raleigh Competition with triple: 150 (Farmers market bike. Very few long rides. There's room for improvement.)
Setting up a mid eighties race bike now with Campy triple and matching BB. Haven't measured it yet.

Phil Wood will cost you real money. But they can make any width and asymmetry you want. And they have the neat ability to be adjusted sise to side to dial in chainline or clearances. (Plus they are flat out gorgeous. But, being a completely hidden BB, only you will know.) And a trick - mount our crtanks on yhour Shimano. Measure how much you would like to move those cranks. Now do the math and see what that new spindle turns out to be. Place your order with Phil. (Both Shimano and Phil Wood work very close to the international standards. So close that you will barely see any difference other than the length changes you spec'd. Important because very small difference in spindle thickness make a big difference in where the cranks sit on the taper. (We are talking square taper spindles I hope. I have almost no experience with anything else and Phil does not make anything else.)

Best part about Phil, when this bike dies, it can go on your next. Might need a new spindle or this one moved a little but both are doable.
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